Web and Mobile Self-Service for Customer Care

Empower customers to find their own answers to their questions, reducing customer service costs while increasing customer satisfaction.

screenshot of astute bot as example of web self service on mobile

What is Web Self-Service?

Customer web self-service describes an online system that allows customers to find answers and information without involving a live agent. It can take place on your website, your mobile app, SMS, through your interactive voice response (IVR) system, or through voice-based virtual assistant systems like Amazon Echo and Google Home. Self-service interactions can also happen within third-party apps like Facebook Messenger and WeChat.

These systems exist in various degrees of sophistication. Some are basic, such as a simple FAQ or list of links on a webpage. Some are advanced, with virtual agents that can provide many of the same functions and the same level of accuracy as live agents.

Why is web self-service important to your customer experience strategy?

Web self service is no longer optional – consumers expect it. In fact, 70% of consumers prefer to self-serve as a starting point. It is critical that your service system provides each customer with accurate, consistent, and relevant answers to their questions. Using an advanced technology can mirror the in-person experience online by engaging customers in a dialog and providing personalized responses.

Benefits of web self-service

When executed well, self service improves customer satisfaction and reduces costs. Ensuring customer satisfaction with their experiences is a high-stakes game. Studies have shown that, for customers who cannot find an answer on their own, are escalated to a live agent, and still do not have their issue resolved, 52% of them will never do business with that company ever again. However, when customers can find the answers and resolutions they need, their satisfaction, trust, and brand loyalty grow.

Effective self service also provides significant cost savings, especially through reduced interaction costs. These solutions provide customers with the right answers to their questions for approximately 50 cents per interaction. When compared to $4.50 for an email and $10 or more for a phone interaction, the bottom-line benefits of self service are clear.

In addition, these technologies can minimize costly escalations. Technologies with high accuracy rates, conversational abilities, natural language understanding (NLU), and integration with customer data are able to successfully resolve complex customer queries without escalating more expensive channels. This can reduce inbound email volume by up to 80% and overall interaction costs by up to 33%.

Another cost savings comes from improved first contact resolution rates. If a customer issue is escalated to a live agent, service platforms that allow the customer service team to pick up where the virtual agent left off empower them to resolve issues more quickly and effectively. This approach has been shown to improve first contact resolution rates by at least 35%.

Return on investment

Implementing an advanced web self service technology results in significant cost savings and improved customer experience. When customers are able to find relevant, accurate answers on their own, the burden on call centers is drastically reduced, shortening wait times, decreasing repeat calls, and allowing live agents to spend more time on value-added conversations.

Using an advanced web self-help platform can deliver:

  • A 97% accuracy rate, increasing system effectiveness and customer adoption
  • An 80% reduction in inbound call volume
  • A 33% reduction in overall interaction costs
  • A 20%-50% reduction in call handling time
  • A 25% reduction in technical support costs

For a thorough analysis of how these technologies can impact your organization, contact Astute.

FAQ versus intelligent knowledge management

Many so-called knowledge management systems produce a static FAQ that uses a simplistic keyword search to find answers. While organizing knowledge is a worthy pursuit, it does not provide the same benefits of an intelligent knowledge management system (KMS). Customers will be more engaged with an interactive experience that replicates that of a live agent. The use of natural language processing (NLP) to understand the meaning behind the customer’s question, instead of a keyword search, ensures more relevant and customized responses.

Integration with your entire website

Web self service should be accessible everywhere, not just hidden on your Contact Us page. Capitalize on customer interactions across your website in order to keep them moving through the purchase process, improving conversion rates. For example, integrate it with the online cart or checkout pages of your site, so that customers will not have to leave their cart if they have a question. According to a study by the Baymard Institute, close to 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned. What’s more, a Forrester report found that more than half of US adults will abandon their online shopping carts if they cannot find a quick answer to their question! It’s imperative to make the answers to customers’ questions quickly and easily accessible – without forcing them to leave their cart.

Mobile self service

In 2015, the number of Google searches performed on mobile devices overtook those performed on desktop. More and more customers expect to be able to find the answers they need on their smartphones, whether through mobile-optimized websites, through apps, or via SMS. However, the majority of companies have been slow to embrace this reality, resulting in low-quality mobile self-service experiences. High consumer expectations paired with poor execution on the part of most companies present a competitive opportunity for those that provide sophisticated, truly helpful mobile interactions.

Intelligent escalation

Despite the best efforts of technology, sometimes customers will need to escalate their issues to a live agent. After spending time trying to solve an issue themselves, there is nothing more frustrating for your customers than having to explain their situation all over again to the customer service agent on the phone. It is important to provide live agents with the appropriate context and relevant information within a CRM they need to pick up right where self-service left off. This is true no matter the channel – be it live chat, a phone call, or video interaction.

It should be easy for the customer (and your service team) to seamlessly transition between channels of communication. Let customers connect with a simple click of the mouse, and don’t force them to repeat key information. From the customer’s perspective, navigating from one customer engagement channel to another should feel like a single, unified interaction.

The consumer engagement experts at Astute are always happy to help you craft your CX strategy and share insights into how top consumer brands are delivering on customer expectations for better web and mobile self-service. Request a demo of our solutions to learn more.